Toledo is a stunning city, and my program helped me learn about it. Past Review

By (Villanova University) - abroad from 01/12/2012 to 04/28/2012 with

Arcadia: Toledo - Fundación Ortega-Marañón

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned a lot more Spanish and I made some wonderful friends. I also discovered a beautiful, mysterious city. Absolutely worthwhile.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Academically, the courses were not very hard, which is sometimes good for studying abroad as it gives you more time to do exploring on your own. But I was hoping to learn a little more from the courses I took.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administration is absolutely wonderful and supportive. They were there for any sort of question or problem or just to say hi.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I decided on staying in the residence, where facilities were adequate but not great.

* Food:

Food was not great. Not nutritious or tasty, and they had very strict rules about when you could eat.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Maybe it was just the fact that Toledo is a small city, but I felt like I could walk down the street and wave to familiar faces and talk to people about things.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Wonderfully. The administrative staff was very helpful.

* Safety:

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

I had to pay for very little once I was in Toledo since the food and housing were included.

* Was housing included in your program cost? Yes
* Was food included in your program cost? Yes
Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $60, not including whatever travel I was doing.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Take large amounts of cash out of the ATMs to avoid the fees.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

We had to sign an agreement only to speak Spanish while we were there. This was frequently broken because that is very difficult to do, but when we were in a classroom setting or even a one-on-one setting with any of the administration, we absolutely had to use Spanish.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Intermediate, but I had not learned much.
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Try, as much as you can, to speak Spanish. It's easy and comfortable to slip back into English with your American friends, but when you're studying or just hanging out, try to use Spanish as much as possible. Sign up for the Spanish word of the day email on Try to read the Spanish news.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Constant encouragement to speak Spanish.
  • Toledo. It's a beautiful city.
  • The cohesion of the whole group of students facilitated by the administrators.
* What could be improved?
  • The food.
  • More interaction with local students.
  • More rigorous and pertinent classes.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That I wouldn't meet many local students.